By Jake Davies

  • Heather Watson [Q] defeats Jaimee Fourlis [WC] 6-2, 6-2
  • Heather Watson [Q] vs Donna Vekic
HOBART, AUSTRALIA – Heather Watson progressed to her first quarter-final of the season as she beat wildcard Jaimee Fourlis in straight sets at the Hobart International.

 

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Heather Watson [Q] defeats Jaimee Fourlis [WC] 6-2 6-2

Heather Watson’s great Hobart run continues to gain momentum as she beat a promising young Australian Jaimee Fourlis to keep her hopes alive of being the first woman to ever win the Hobart International event on more than one occasion. The scoreline shouldn’t flatter Watson as it was one of those rare occasions where she looked completely solid off both sides and really showed her wealth of experience in comparison to that of her opponent.

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Watson may still be searching for her best tennis and her best level, but she’s been on the tour for around seven years now and she’s learnt loads about her game in that period of time, but she has also learned a lot about herself as a person. She’s experienced the highs on tour of winning WTA events, competing against the very best players at Grand Slams and she’s also experienced the many lows on tour and she demonstrated that assuredness and confidence that when she is playing well she can beat many players with this level and Fourlis fell victim to this air of confidence.

The Brit lost just the four games in little over an hour of play and looks to be on a considerable roll this week. It is easy to overlook that she has come through qualifying in this event so she has been winning a lot of matches, which bodes well for another crack at an Australian Open main draw.

Watson served incredibly well and when she does find that continuity with her first serve she is a tough player to get ahold of. She won 24/29 points (83%) on her first serve throughout the match and stopped an aggressive, explosive player from doing what she likes to do best and that is control the outcome of the point on her own terms.

 

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Heather Watson  [Q] vs Donna Vekic H2H: Vekic leads 1-0

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Watson now has the chance to test herself against a Top 60 player in Donna Vekic. Vekic started the season with a disappointing loss to Kirsten Flipkens in Auckland, but does seem to be in a positive frame mind after appointing Angelique Kerber‘s former coach Torben Beltz in the off-season. The Croatian has done a lot of her previous development in Great Britain training at the UK’s National Tennis centre and will know a lot about Watson’s game and how it shapes up going into this match.

Vekic is another one of those players that can be a handful on her day. She has the ability to take the racquet out of her opponents hands, but hasn’t always had the right application and temperament to take her game to the next level and I think that is where Beltz steps in.

Watson seems super positive this week. She speaks highly of the event and is optimistic about her game and usually those are very good signs for the Brit. I think she may edge this one in three-sets.

Prediction: Watson in three sets. 

Watson and Vekic are scheduled on Centre Court at 12pm (1am GMT).

 

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